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Ray Ray’s Smokehouse starts new year

By DAWN HANKINS - dhankins@t-g.com
Posted 12/31/21

Ray Ray’s Smokehouse was among several local barbecue teams helping out local fireman Aldo Gonzalez through a recent Christmas Eve fundraiser.  

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Ray Ray’s Smokehouse starts new year


Ray Ray’s Smokehouse was among several local barbecue teams helping out local fireman Aldo Gonzalez through a recent Christmas Eve fundraiser.  

Owners Raymond and Melissa Meadows are a part of their local community and have volunteered in such endeavors since moving there 16 years ago.  

Active in the community  

Ray Ray’s own Raymond and Melissa moved to Bedford County as teenagers with their respective families and moved out to the Flat Creek community in 2005.  

The Meadows family now includes three daughters, Hailey, 16; Megan, 13; and Shelby, 11.  

The smokehouse idea  

What started out as a hobby for Raymond has become a lifestyle for his family in 2020. They’ve already experienced since then how the food business can at times be stressful. Still, there’s no denying they’re doing something right; they usually sell out of food.  

“We’re exciting in what the future may hold,” says Melissa. She adds how it was following one Father’s Day when the inspiration for the barbecue food truck came to fruition. Raymond had asked for and received a Pellet Smoker as a gift.  

After experimenting with it, he realized he really enjoyed this type of cooking. The Meadows decided then to open up a food trailer, establishing it in 2020, mainly because they discovered how the upfront costs were lower.  

Melissa says in hindsight how they both work full time, so they spend several late evenings a week gathering the supply list, going through trailer checks, cleaning and preparing for the weekend. Ray Ray’s Smokehouse truck generally runs every Saturday.  

Though often parked at Shelbyville’s Rite Aid lot, Melissa says they don’t have a “permanent location,” so they ask people to check their Facebook page for Saturday stops.  

“We love serving our hometown, so we try and set up in Shelbyville at least two times per month.”  

The shiny, silver truck— one recognizable for its steer head logo—specializes in flavorfully seasoned pork, brisket, ribs, loaded nachos, barbecue grilled cheese sandwiches and tacos.  

As something new, the team offered a “Thanksgiving meal” this year, featuring Ray’s smoked turkey and/or ham along with homemade sides from custom recipes from Melissa’s late father, Fred Denton.  

The truck also provided a Christmas menu—one complete with smoked pork loin, cinnamon apples and banana pudding. Melissa says the smokehouse menu consists of many of the same recipes their family has traditionally enjoyed together.  

Celebrating a new year  

The year 2021 was busy for the Meadows. They admit how much of their time has consisted of learning the art of smokehouse barbecue, which can be as varied as you want it to be, from smokey to spicy. They must be doing something right as their truck has truly caught the interest of the community.  

“This was absolutely a new venture and neither of us have ever owned or even worked in the food industry,” explains Raymond. “We had a lot to read and study going into it. We enjoy trying new recipes and tried so many different flavors before we got our signature flavor we were both 100% delighted with. We have gotten great feed back, but of course have made a few mistakes along the way.”  

Raymond says he’s mostly a “self-taught cook,” but learned a few things from his late father, Robby Scroggins. But the smoking technique, well, that credit goes to Raymond. That distinct barbecue flavor also goes into whole meats which are available, such as bologna and ham.  

“We still offer pre-orders for large meat orders and [the] catering menu’s based on customer needs on an individual basis.”  

Their food truck keeps them up late at night as well testing recipes. Some of course have been more tried and true to local tastebuds of course than others.  

As for the future of their barbecue kitchen, well, that’s uncertain.  

“We have talked about putting more time in during the week nights, but haven’t decided anything long-term,” advises Melissa. “We just really enjoy feeding Shelbyville and surrounding areas and enjoy bringing a little food joy in a world of so much uncertainty.”